Originally Posted by LeCorb
Your math is also off. I got this Carmina shoe for $370 in the recent sale at Paul Stuart which is 42% lower than Alden's shell price. You might say I am not comparing apple to apple. But my question is why Alden never go on sale and restricting their retailer to discount the shoe. It seems J.crew / Alden are buying up all the shell and driving the price up. Is it legitimate for a single company to control all the shell supply? Btw the quality of the Carmina shoe is so much better.
"Maybe" you are not comparing apples to apples? Of course you aren't. And Aldens do go on sale, typically when a retailer is trying to accelerate the clearing out of discontinued models or ones they are not carrying any longer -- perhaps, by the way, Paul Stuart discounted the shoe it sold you? No difference here.
Your conspiracy theories about J Crew and Alden conspiring to drive up the price of shell is difficult to support with the facts. Very little shell is used for shoes. There are much larger forces in play. And whenever anyone talks about a manufacturer restricting a product that it derives a significant amount of its business, I have to wonder the following: can it conceivably make any sense whatsoever for that manufacturer to make less -- and thus sell less -- of its product when it could make more, and thus sell more, of that product?
I have no doubt that Alden could adopt more high volume manufacturing than it does. But is it remotely possible that Alden is deliberately restricting ravello shoes to maybe two dozen each year? If ravello cordovan were really available, wouldn't Alden make much more money by stocking ravello models in its catalogue and selling 100 dozen pair each year as opposed to two?
In addition, to hoard cordovan, Alden would have to compete with all buyers of cordovan leather, not just those few who make a few shoes with it. I think it highly unlikely that Alden has the resources or the desire to go toe to toe with users all over the world of much larger quantities of cordovan than Alden uses.
Finally, if Alden is the hub of cordovan hoarding conspiracy, it appears to be doing a bad job: others on this board have said Allen Edmonds has said it does not lack cordovan for its needs, and no one has said other makers - C&J, rancourt, etc. are having difficulty.
There does not appear to be much evidence to support a J Crew/Alden conspiracy. The circumstance appears to be more complex, and less alarming, than that. All the more reason to focus on King Cordovan - color 8 models.
Or not, if you have your disposition. If you like Carmina better, good for you. Buy Carmina. And if you can find a Carmina model on sale that you like, you are doubly blessed to find a shoe you like at less than rack rate.